The album Laughing Stock (1991) by the British pop group Talk Talk is the result of a highly layered production. Starting with free improvisations, the composers of this album selected patterns to improvise further on, ongoing, until forms of compositions emerged and definitive versions were chosen. Nearly 50 musicians contributed to this process, the pieces of 18 of them were selected for the final product. Since the death of Mark Hollis, singer and head of the group, in 2019, the album is definitely history. We want to explore and analyse this very complex process of improvisations leading to compositions, in a musical and graphic counter-movement – that we use the principles of this process to generate graphic notations for the musicians to improvise on, that the graphic designers again have to respond to the musical contributions, vice versa, ongoing, until the composition of the Laughing Stock Research Album is finished. The publication of it on vinyl in 2021 will include all the documents and insights regarding this kind of methodological approach.
A project by LUCA School of Arts, campus Ghent, research unit Image
The project started with a residency at Concertgebouw Brugge, 23 and 24 September 2020, by experimental recording of free improvisations and variations on pieces from Laughing Stock. Participants: Heleen Van Haegenborgh, Annelies Monseré, Raphael Malfliet, Robin Schaeverbeke, Jürgen De Blonde and me.